THE Greater Edendale Mall (Gem) has injected over a R100 000 in an initiative to create awareness about the sustainability of healthy wetlands.Gem, in partnership with Liberty, a wetlands non-profit organisation, will on 2 February host 10 schools from Edendale in a bid to educate them in environmental studies through fun games and practical experiments.Gem Marketing Manager Sonya Caldecott said this event is aimed at being an educational interaction with the pupils while teaching them the importance of sustaining healthy wetlands.“One of the other reasons we are involved in this CSI project is because Greater Edendale is a catchment area for the Dusi River. This means that illegal dumping, litter, and pollution flows down to the Dusi River and we get alarming figures of E. coli contamination, which is indicative of faecal content in the water and results in severe illness including diarrhoea.”The CSI project will coincide with the World Wetlands Day celebrated annually on 2 February.Caldecott said Edendale has a total of 40 wetlands with only the one at the mall functional.“Edendale Mall is built on a wetland estate and we preserve and maintain our wetlands accordingly. We want the community at large to realise the value of wetlands and join in the campaign to rehabilitate them. “This is the way we are roping in the community to get involved in managing them and other natural resources we have in the area. We want to educate the teachers as well so they will filter this information to their pupils. The schools we have handpicked are all around the 40 wetlands.”Other stakeholders that have partnered with Gem in the initiative include the KZN Wildlife, Ground Truth, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Eco-Pulse, Institute of Natural Resources, the department of Water and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Energy.Mlungisi Ntuli of Liberty said they hosted a similar initiative last year at ZamaZulu High School in Imbali.“Many of these pupils have only read about wetlands, we want to bring them to the mall so they see in realism what a healthy wetland looks like. The interactions between the partners and pupils will highlight among other things how wetlands have the ability to limit disasters such as floods and wildfires. There will be other fun activities pupils will take part in, all part of teaching them how to sustain the environment.”The pupils attending will walk away with lots of awesome prizes on the day. Gem will also be donating undisclosed prize money to the best participating school.